Title

Conceptualising mental health in the United Arab Emirates: the perspective of traditional healers

Source of Publication

Mental Health, Religion and Culture

Abstract

© 2015, © 2015 Taylor & Francis. Substantial investments in health-care have ensured the widespread availability of allopathic medical services across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However, in spite of this accessibility traditional healers (Mutawa) continue to play a significant, albeit, unofficial role in the UAE's health sector. Citizens routinely consult traditional healers for problems that might, from a western biomedical perspective, be considered psychiatric conditions. This qualitative study explores traditional healers' conceptualisations of mental health problems, discussing their perspectives on phenomenology, aetiology, intervention and outcome. Notably, traditional healers distinguished between biomedical illness and states they attributed to demonological or metaphysical causes. The Islamic spiritual narrative was central to discussions of aetiology, intervention and outcome. Greater integration of traditional healers within the UAE's mental health-care services would, in many cases, improve patient experience and outcomes.

Document Type

Article

First Page

134

Last Page

145

Publication Date

1-1-2015

DOI

10.1080/13674676.2015.1010196

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